After nearly a week of responses to the Ghomeshi trial that made my stomach turn I decided to write a post. So I know there are thousands of posts about the trial, rape and belief. I can’t not post. I must speak out and in support.
Assault is assault, no matter how the courts or judges, journalists, or certain members of the public give space or airtime to discredit and discount the women who came forward, women who said that they had been punched, kicked, slapped, violated and humiliated by Ghomeshi should have been believed. Women have been hearing the same message by the courts for decades and blamed. Women are the ones that end up having to prove that assault happened while rapists, aggressors, pedophiles and serial predators- get away with their crimes and often don’t even take the stand, because in the end, it’s always the women who are on trial for the assaults perpetrated against us/them.
When I was a teen I was part of the women’s movement when we chanted in marches and showed up at public events like Take Back The Night, Pro-choice, International Women’s day..etc. If we haven’t been able to change the system in all these years, I wonder what we should do outside of the system? I mean, it matters to keep working on changing the system, but let’s face it, it’s far too slow and girls and women are still being raped, assaulted, seduced and manipulated by men without much advancement or change. What do we do? Start a revolution? Maybe we do need to train girls on how to respond and react when date rape, incest and powerful manipulations occur. Vulnerable girls and women often don’t know what abuse is or know and are terrified, and when it’s someone you love that hurts you or punches you or degrades you, it’s complex and dangerous. Women stay in those relationships, and many know this if you know anything about domestic violence, or remember mothers being abused, or sisters or…yourself. How do we change the thinking of girls and women? It’s not so simple and if we are going to make men accountable for their relationship violence then we have to support the women, believe the women and accept that violence in intimate relationships is very different from B and E’s or bank hold-ups. But one thing is certain with intimate relationships, women usually always pay the price while men walk away. The courts are biased against women. Judges don’t understand the issues at all. Education on all fronts is needed, revolution even.
We have a right to be angry. I’m really disappointed in many people I know and those I’ve seen in public spaces because they want to argue about the words of women after assault, who said what and when instead of looking at the basic facts of assault. The only thing that should be questioned on the stand is the act of violence itself. When women say they did not consent, it’s pretty much 99.9% true. And that’s what we should be focusing on and changing. When someone walks into a store with a gun and gets cash, we don’t truly care what they were doing before they held up the store or what they did after. What matters is the act of theft itself. When a person holds a gun to someone and pulls the trigger, it’s the act of injuring or killing that is on trial, not the emotional state of the person or who they talked to or if they chatted with the person they injured. Sexism and patriarchy are at play and there are double standards when it come to violence against women.
We can’t truly have equity or human rights until women have equal and fair representation, until our stories are believed, until men are accountable for their violence, until we make up 50% of the political leadership, unit our pay is equal to a man’s pay for equal work, and so much more…but this is merely a blog post and I know people don’t like to read very long posts!
I was encouraged by very cool women this week like Jill Soloway who has her own site, And women like Lucy DeCoutere, who despite being raked over the coals by the courts, still had the courage and dignity to speak her mind and say what happened to her. I am filled with hope that women are organizing yet again and brainstorming, telling stories and working on what we must do next. I really hope that the men who say they support us show up, put their names and faces into the ring and challenge men who uphold colonial patriarchal and sexist attitudes and systems, challenge men who think it’s okay to assault and hurt girls and women and help stop the cycles of violence and oppression of women. We need boys and men to get it, experience empathy, activate and educate boys and men. Without it, we women may just have to go rogue.
Check out these sites: Wifey.tv The very cool and brilliant Jill Soloway co-created this site. An article with Lucy DeCoutere in Chatelaine. Article in Huffington Post. Sexual Assault on Campus. Ending child slavery an sexual trafficking. Women of color against violence-Incite.
Thanks for listening. May we find our way to peace and love and may we find a way to support, believe and stop the violence against girls and women.